Employer-Sponsored Insurance Plans
Many companies offer health insurance plans as part of their benefits packages for employees, sometimes even for part-time workers.
Health care plans offered by employers often provide better coverage at a more reasonable price than you can buy on your own. Employers qualify for discounted group rates, and usually pay a portion of your insurance costs as a benefit of working at the company.
If you are leaving a job where you had health insurance and want to keep coverage while transitioning to another job or looking for a new job, ask about COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) coverage.
Under COBRA, most employers (those with 20 or more employees)
must provide the option for you and your dependents to continue coverage if the employee leaves or dies, divorces or has some other change in circumstances.
This gives you time to find an alternative health care plan. Keep in mind, though, that COBRA coverage will cost you more than what you paid as an employee because your former employer no longer will be contributing. You may be able to buy health insurance less expensively in a health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, especially if you qualify for tax subsidies.
Transitioning to a new job:
When interviewing for a new job, ask what types of insurance benefits (health, vision, dental) are offered, who the company’s insurance provider is, and how much the employer contributes to paying for coverage.
- Know if there is a waiting or probationary period before your new health insurance begins.
- Find out which procedures and prescriptions are (and are not) covered by the employer’s plan.
- Know what your maximum out-of-pocket expenses per year will be under the employer’s plan.
- If the employer offers several types of plans, look for lower-cost coverage through preferred provider organizations (PPOs) or health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
- Keep paying on your current health plan or take advantage of COBRA coverage until your new job’s plan kicks in.